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MEDIA ADVISORY: DEEP Natural Diversity Database Program Officials to Meet NatureServe Network Van Tour in West Rock Ridge State Park Oct. 14

(HARTFORD)— Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Natural Diversity Database officials will meet with NatureServe CEO and President, Sean O’Brien, who will be visiting West Rock Ridge State Park as part of its Network Van Tour, an expedition that highlights how scientific data are used to permanently conserve biodiversity.

NatureServe works with more than 60 network organizations and more than 1,000 conservation scientists to collect, analyze, and deliver biodiversity information, providing comprehensive spatial data to meet regulatory and conservation needs. DEEP’s Natural Diversity Database Program is part of this network, as the entity tracking rare species and ecosystems in Connecticut.

DEEP’s Natural Diversity Database Program provides data and technical guidance for tracking species and conserving biodiversity, including those occurring at West Rock Ridge State Park. Bill Moorhead, who recently joined the Connecticut Natural Diversity Database Program as its rare plant botanist and ecologist, will lead a tour of the park.

Offering one of the best views of the New Haven Region, West Rock Ridge State Park is the second largest park in Connecticut at 1700 acres and runs over 6 miles along the ridge. Managed by DEEP, West Rock’s urban setting makes it accessible for recreation and as an outdoor classroom. Trap rock ridges dominate the landscape in Connecticut’s Central Valley; these ridges create a microcosm of diverse habitats making them hotspots for native biodiversity. West Rock has a reported 230 species of birds, including State Threatened Peregrine falcons, and 89 species of butterflies, including the State Endangered Columbine duskywing. The park includes two critical habitat types; dry subacidic forests and subacidic rocky summit/outcrops that support rare and endangered species, including 25 rare plant species.

Meeting Information:

Meeting Time: 9:30-10:00 AM ET, October 14th, 2021

Meeting Location: Meet at Wintergreen Lake, located within the park. Directions: Off the Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15), take Exit 60. Turn right off the exit ramp onto Dixwell Avenue/Route 10 South. Take a right at the next light onto Benham Street. Follow Benham Street to the end. Turn left onto Main Street. At a sharp left, turn right into the parking lot for the Lake Wintergreen area. Please see attached GPS-friendly map; we will meet at the parking area indicated at the north end of Wintergreen lake. GPS Coordinates: 41.360017, -72.964882.

What to Expect:  Members of the Media are encouraged to meet the group before the site visit begins to take photos and interview attendees. Media members are also welcome to join attendees on a tour of the area. Group will leave the meeting area promptly at 10:00 AM to begin the tour, which includes walking to areas of interest to biodiversity conservation. The tour will end before lunch, at approximately 12:00 PM. Bringing own water and snacks is encouraged. Sturdy shoes for hiking and mosquito repellent also recommended. Attendees are reminded to #RecreateResponsibly when in State Parks, and to continue to practice social distancing.

Who Will Be There: 

Sean O’Brien, CEO and President of NatureServe

Robin Blum, Supervisor, CT DEEP Natural Diversity Database

Karen Zyko, Database Manager, CT DEEP Natural Diversity Database

Bill Moorhead, Botanist, CT DEEP Natural Diversity Database

Shannon Kearney, Biologist, CT DEEP Natural Diversity Database

Laura Saucier, Wildlife Biologist, CT DEEP Wildlife Diversity Program

Communications Contact:

Samantha Belilty, Marketing & Communications Director, NatureServe, | 703-908-1871 (remote)
Twitter: @CTDEEPNews
Facebook: DEEP on Facebook


DEEP Communications